Guest Orchid Photographer: Peter Zschunke

By Kathy Puckett (boojum) on October 10, 2010

I met Peter on Twitter last month and was thrilled when he wrote to me and gave me links to his beautiful websites. I asked if he would write about his love of wild European terrestrial orchids and photography, and lucky for us all, he consented!

Kathy: Peter, can you tell us about your career and background.

Peter:  I'm a journalist specialized in IT and internet coverage, working for the leading German press agency dpa in Berlin. 

Kathy:  Please tell us about your involvement with orchids and photography (how you started, etc), and about your really remarkably beautiful websites.

Peter:  I've always been fascinated by photography, by its capabilities as a visual memory and by its potential to open my eyes for new sights and insights. But I have to thank my children that I've started an interest in botany. While hiking through the forests in Germany, they asked me lots of questions about the name of plants and I always had to answer: "Don't know."  So, finally, my wife and I bought a field guide for the most common plants. And at the end of the day, we looked up the names of the flowers we had seen. 

Then I began to photograph wild flowers, and in 1999 I started the website (actually a fantasy name proposed by my wife) with those photos. In 2000, I encountered the first wild flowering orchid, an Orchis militaris.

Orchis militaris Orchis militaris albiflora

I fell in love with this family of plants at once and finally I changed to a website specializing in wild orchids. In 2004, I had my first field trip dedicated to orchids in Sicily (Southern Italy) and I published reports about all my field trips at 

Ophrys aveyronensis Limodorum abortivum Nigritella rhellicani

Studying an orchid flower through the lens of my camera shows me much more than by mere eyesight. Entering the macro perspective, I detect so many fascinating details which I would otherwise miss. 

Ophrys insectifera Cephalanthera damasonium

When I first saw a white flowered orchid of a species which normally develops purple flowers, I started to study those color varieties in depth. In 2007, I started as probably the only web site about those white flowered orchids and I invited others to participate and to send me photos of those rare plants. Since is also in English, it has a much broader reach and I'm happy to get contacts with orchid friends in other countries.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Kathy:  One last question, Peter.  I would love to know how you see your life’s mission.

My mission is to increase the number of people with a smile on their faces :-)

Kathy:  I'm with you there!  Hope this article and Peter's websites put a smile on your face!! Be sure to check out his blogs on

Peter Zschunke

Related articles:
albiflora, European orchids, miramis, orchid, orchids, Orchis militaris, Peter Zschunke, photography, white flowered orchid, wild

About Kathy Puckett
Kathy is the admin for An Orchid Obsession. She is a speech-language pathologist, a former professional artist, a photographer, and an avid orchid grower. And most of all she likes to learn about the folks she chats with every day on her cubit.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Thanks Ursula Oct 11, 2010 11:56 AM 1
Very interesting and lovely Zanymuse Oct 10, 2010 3:47 PM 2

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